Top lures of the Potomac Elite

You can nearly fill a tackle box with the wide assortment of lures used at the Bassmaster Elite at Potomac River presented by Econo Lodge. Proven West Coast born lures produced for Justin Lucas and Brent Ehrler, both native Californians.  <p> <em>All Captions: Craig Lamb</em>
Photo: Garrick Dixon - You can nearly fill a tackle box with the wide assortment of lures used at the Bassmaster Elite at Potomac River presented by Econo Lodge. Proven West Coast born lures produced for Justin Lucas and Brent Ehrler, both native Californians. All Captions: Craig Lamb
Conventional lures worked too, from topwater frogs and bladed jigs to wacky rigs and crankbaits. The top finishers all used different lures and tactics. Here’s a recap of those lures and how they worked for the Top 12.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Conventional lures worked too, from topwater frogs and bladed jigs to wacky rigs and crankbaits. The top finishers all used different lures and tactics. Here’s a recap of those lures and how they worked for the Top 12.
 “The key for me was the drop shot,” said winner Justin Lucas. “I don’t think the bass had seen it much on the Potomac.” That will certainly change as yet another West Coast born tactic proves a winner in the east.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - “The key for me was the drop shot,” said winner Justin Lucas. “I don’t think the bass had seen it much on the Potomac.” That will certainly change as yet another West Coast born tactic proves a winner in the east.
<b>Justin Lucas</b><br> Lucas primarily used a 6-inch hand-poured worm, blue and brown, rigged with a 3/16-ounce Eco Pro Tungsten Weight and 1/0 hook. He fashioned those components into a drop shot rig fished along a pier, where the bass were suspended over 8 feet of water.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Justin Lucas Lucas primarily used a 6-inch hand-poured worm, blue and brown, rigged with a 3/16-ounce Eco Pro Tungsten Weight and 1/0 hook. He fashioned those components into a drop shot rig fished along a pier, where the bass were suspended over 8 feet of water.
Alternatively, Lucas used a 5-inch soft plastic stick bait, watermelon/red flake, rigged to a 3/0 Berkley Fusion19 extra wide gap hook. He fished the lure along grass beds perpendicular to the pier. Allowing the lure to tediously free-fall down the water column through 10 feet of water produced strikes.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Alternatively, Lucas used a 5-inch soft plastic stick bait, watermelon/red flake, rigged to a 3/0 Berkley Fusion19 extra wide gap hook. He fished the lure along grass beds perpendicular to the pier. Allowing the lure to tediously free-fall down the water column through 10 feet of water produced strikes.
<b>Jason Christie</b><br> Summing up his runner-up finish, Jason Christie said, “It was fun all week.” Indeed. Christie’s payoff bait was a topwater frog. He chose a Booyah Pad Crusher, Sunburn color, rigged with a No. X Laser Trokar 3/0 Frog Hook.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Jason Christie Summing up his runner-up finish, Jason Christie said, “It was fun all week.” Indeed. Christie’s payoff bait was a topwater frog. He chose a Booyah Pad Crusher, Sunburn color, rigged with a No. X Laser Trokar 3/0 Frog Hook.
Christie dialed into the bite on the incoming and outgoing tide by adjusting boat positioning. On rising water he followed the bass as they moved deeper into his chosen grass beds. As the water dropped the bass moved to the outside edges, where Christie found his best success.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Christie dialed into the bite on the incoming and outgoing tide by adjusting boat positioning. On rising water he followed the bass as they moved deeper into his chosen grass beds. As the water dropped the bass moved to the outside edges, where Christie found his best success.
<b>Brent Ehrler</b><br> Brent Ehrler focused on a creek channel slicing through an expansive flat, covered in a mixture of hydrilla and milfoil. Keying solely on one area required three lures to cover the fluctuating tides. On high tide and without floating debris he used a Lucky Craft Classical Leader CL-55 SSR, Begill (bluegill). Alternatively, he chose a green pumpkin 3/8-ounce homemade bladed jig, black blade with a Yamamoto Zako trailer.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Brent Ehrler Brent Ehrler focused on a creek channel slicing through an expansive flat, covered in a mixture of hydrilla and milfoil. Keying solely on one area required three lures to cover the fluctuating tides. On high tide and without floating debris he used a Lucky Craft Classical Leader CL-55 SSR, Begill (bluegill). Alternatively, he chose a green pumpkin 3/8-ounce homemade bladed jig, black blade with a Yamamoto Zako trailer.
Low tide required making targeted casts with a 5-inch Yamamoto Swimming Senko, watermelon/red, with 3/0 Gamakatsu Extra Wide Gap hook and 3 1/16-ounce Reins TB Tungsten Slip Sinker. “I keyed on the sparse vegetation out front of the grassbeds,” he added.
Photo: James Overstreet - Low tide required making targeted casts with a 5-inch Yamamoto Swimming Senko, watermelon/red, with 3/0 Gamakatsu Extra Wide Gap hook and 3 1/16-ounce Reins TB Tungsten Slip Sinker. “I keyed on the sparse vegetation out front of the grassbeds,” he added.
<b>Bill Lowen</b><br> “It was a grind tournament, and I typically do well in those situations,” said Bill Lowen, a pre-tournament favorite for his shallow water skills. Lowen stayed in a shallow creek so narrow he could flip or pitch to both sides of the shoreline. That is what he did with 4-inch homemade creature baits.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Bill Lowen “It was a grind tournament, and I typically do well in those situations,” said Bill Lowen, a pre-tournament favorite for his shallow water skills. Lowen stayed in a shallow creek so narrow he could flip or pitch to both sides of the shoreline. That is what he did with 4-inch homemade creature baits.
Lowen used a sapphire blue, rigged with a 1/4-ounce Reins TB Tungsten Slip Sinker and 3/0 Mustad Grip Pin Max hook. Alternatively, he rigged a green pumpkin version with the same hook and a 1-ounce sinker. For more strike appeal he added a blue jig skirt from Lure Parts Online.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Lowen used a sapphire blue, rigged with a 1/4-ounce Reins TB Tungsten Slip Sinker and 3/0 Mustad Grip Pin Max hook. Alternatively, he rigged a green pumpkin version with the same hook and a 1-ounce sinker. For more strike appeal he added a blue jig skirt from Lure Parts Online.
<b>Andy Montgomery</b><br> Bass moved deep inside grass beds on high tide and back out to the edges on low tide, to sum up Andy Montgomery’s all-day success. On low tide he used three lures. Those were Strike King KVD Perfect Plastics Dream Shot, Ocho and Shim-E-Stick. He drop shot the Dream Shot with a No. 2 hook and 1/8-ounce weight. A wacky rig with No. 1 straight shank hooked produced for the Ocho. He Texas-rigged the Shim-E-Stick with a 3/0 straight shank hook and 1/8-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Andy Montgomery Bass moved deep inside grass beds on high tide and back out to the edges on low tide, to sum up Andy Montgomery’s all-day success. On low tide he used three lures. Those were Strike King KVD Perfect Plastics Dream Shot, Ocho and Shim-E-Stick. He drop shot the Dream Shot with a No. 2 hook and 1/8-ounce weight. A wacky rig with No. 1 straight shank hooked produced for the Ocho. He Texas-rigged the Shim-E-Stick with a 3/0 straight shank hook and 1/8-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight.
With tide high and bass in thick grass mats he punched those with a Strike King Rage Bug, rigged with a 3/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook and 1 1/4-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight. Green pumpkin worked best for the low tide lures; he used blue craw for the Rage Bug.
Photo: Seigo Saito - With tide high and bass in thick grass mats he punched those with a Strike King Rage Bug, rigged with a 3/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook and 1 1/4-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight. Green pumpkin worked best for the low tide lures; he used blue craw for the Rage Bug.
<b>Keith Combs</b><br> Keith Combs started the day with a 3/8-ounce bluegill Strike King Pure Poison bladed swim jig. “It’s my version of a crankbait when fishing grass,” he said. “You can work it really well through grass, break it free and trigger a reaction strike.” Combs fished the lure at 2 feet over grassy flats.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Keith Combs Keith Combs started the day with a 3/8-ounce bluegill Strike King Pure Poison bladed swim jig. “It’s my version of a crankbait when fishing grass,” he said. “You can work it really well through grass, break it free and trigger a reaction strike.” Combs fished the lure at 2 feet over grassy flats.
Later in the morning on the incoming tide Combs moved to the back of a creek. Flipping isolated wood was the technique with a Strike King Rage Bug, Okeechobee Craw and Blue Craw. He rigged those to a 4/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook with 3/8- or 3/4-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weights.
Photo: Ronnie Moore - Later in the morning on the incoming tide Combs moved to the back of a creek. Flipping isolated wood was the technique with a Strike King Rage Bug, Okeechobee Craw and Blue Craw. He rigged those to a 4/0 Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook with 3/8- or 3/4-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weights.
<b>Randall Tharp</b><br> Brett Hite gifted Randall Tharp with a single 3/8-ounce Evergreen Jackhammer bladed jig he used all week. By Day 3 the lure bore the battle scars of success. For strike appeal he added a 3.5-inch Zoom Z Craw Jr. “I basically just junk fished around docks and punched grass,” he said. Alternatively, he used a 3/8-ounce 4x4 Randall Tharp Signature Series Jig, Golden Craw. To that he added a 3.5-inch Zoom Super Chunk Jr., green pumpkin.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Randall Tharp Brett Hite gifted Randall Tharp with a single 3/8-ounce Evergreen Jackhammer bladed jig he used all week. By Day 3 the lure bore the battle scars of success. For strike appeal he added a 3.5-inch Zoom Z Craw Jr. “I basically just junk fished around docks and punched grass,” he said. Alternatively, he used a 3/8-ounce 4x4 Randall Tharp Signature Series Jig, Golden Craw. To that he added a 3.5-inch Zoom Super Chunk Jr., green pumpkin.
<b>Brett Hite</b><br> For the third Elite Series event of the year Brett Hite relied on lures of his design. The pair was a green pumpkin 3/8-ounce Evergreen Jackhammer bladed jig and color matching 4-inch Yamamoto Zako for a trailer. Alternatively, he used a 5-inch Yamamoto Senko, green pumpkin/watermelon, rigged with a 4/0 VMC Extra Wide Gap Hook. He fished the Jackhammer parallel to grass edges near deeper water. “Making contact with the grass was key to reaction strikes,” he said. Casting to laydowns and shoreline wood produced strikes on the Senko.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Brett Hite For the third Elite Series event of the year Brett Hite relied on lures of his design. The pair was a green pumpkin 3/8-ounce Evergreen Jackhammer bladed jig and color matching 4-inch Yamamoto Zako for a trailer. Alternatively, he used a 5-inch Yamamoto Senko, green pumpkin/watermelon, rigged with a 4/0 VMC Extra Wide Gap Hook. He fished the Jackhammer parallel to grass edges near deeper water. “Making contact with the grass was key to reaction strikes,” he said. Casting to laydowns and shoreline wood produced strikes on the Senko.
<b>Jordan Lee</b><br> “It looked just like home.” That is how Jordon Lee described his area resembling Lake Guntersville on the Potomac River. Lee punched thickly matted grass beds bordering the river channel. He used the KVD Perfect Plastics Strike King Rodent, Blue Bug and Green Pumpkin. He rigged those to a 4/0 straight shank hook and 1 1/2-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Jordan Lee “It looked just like home.” That is how Jordon Lee described his area resembling Lake Guntersville on the Potomac River. Lee punched thickly matted grass beds bordering the river channel. He used the KVD Perfect Plastics Strike King Rodent, Blue Bug and Green Pumpkin. He rigged those to a 4/0 straight shank hook and 1 1/2-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight.
<b>Gerald Swindle</b><br> Gerald Swindle, another Alabama native, tapped into his comfort zone and found a similar area as Lee. “It was a grinder, junk fishing,” he said, of his well-suited style of angling. Swindle used a 3.5-inch Zoom Z-Craw Jr., green pumpkin, rigged to a 2/0 hook and 1 1/2-ounce weight. “It’s the best setup ever invented for punching grass,” he added.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Gerald Swindle Gerald Swindle, another Alabama native, tapped into his comfort zone and found a similar area as Lee. “It was a grinder, junk fishing,” he said, of his well-suited style of angling. Swindle used a 3.5-inch Zoom Z-Craw Jr., green pumpkin, rigged to a 2/0 hook and 1 1/2-ounce weight. “It’s the best setup ever invented for punching grass,” he added.
<b>Fred Roumbanis</b><br> Fred Roumbanis relied on a weightless Gene Larew 6-inch Salt Flick’r, described as sinking worm, swimbait and do-nothing worm all in one. “It has two appendages, and I was just burn retrieving it through the grass,” he explained. “The bass were feeding on yellow perch and it matched their fleeing swimming action.”
Photo: Bassmaster Marshal - Fred Roumbanis Fred Roumbanis relied on a weightless Gene Larew 6-inch Salt Flick’r, described as sinking worm, swimbait and do-nothing worm all in one. “It has two appendages, and I was just burn retrieving it through the grass,” he explained. “The bass were feeding on yellow perch and it matched their fleeing swimming action.”
<b>Cliff Pirch</b><br> Arizona pro Clifford Pirch, like western native Justin Lucas, likewise tapped into the obscurity of the drop shot for tricking jaded bass on the Potomac River. Pirch used a 6-inch Roboworm Straight Tail Worm, Margarita Mutilator. “I caught my fish from deep holes with clearer water ranging from 4 to 16 feet deep,” he said.
Photo: Garrick Dixon - Cliff Pirch Arizona pro Clifford Pirch, like western native Justin Lucas, likewise tapped into the obscurity of the drop shot for tricking jaded bass on the Potomac River. Pirch used a 6-inch Roboworm Straight Tail Worm, Margarita Mutilator. “I caught my fish from deep holes with clearer water ranging from 4 to 16 feet deep,” he said.